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Here we go again
Why pass up some schandenfreude?
By: Richard Linde, Posted 10 February 2003
year, or more often it seems, Rick Neuheisel is a candidate to fill a head-coaching vacancy. Although rumors of his leaving make for
cataclysmic entertainment in the media and for conflagrations on Internet
message boards, there are a number of reasons he won’t leave Washington and take
Steve Mariucci’s place with the San Francisco 49ers.
Short of that he
makes a guaranteed $1.42 million, which is not bad for four months' work
during the football season.
If Neuheisel should leave Washington, he would be the
first Husky to take a pay cut to turn pro since Hugh McElhenny did in 1952
when he went to the 49ers.
Reportedly, the cash strapped 49ers can’t afford to pay Neuheisel more
than $1.2 million per year. Neuheisel can make as much as $1.82 million per
annum at Washington, if incentives, a potential signing bonus (if he stays
through 2007) and a $1.5 million loan are included.
The 49ers would have to bail him out of his
contract with the Dawgs, repaying the $1.5 million loan and
paying off a $600 thousand buyout.
Neuheisel needs to prove to himself that he can bag the
five-star players the Trojans and Seminoles covet each year.
During his stint
at Washington, the NCAA has dogged him like a loose-ribbed mongrel with
foul-smelling fur. After enduring house arrest this past recruiting season, he
must be anxious to hit the recruiting trail again and give the onerous NCAA a kick in
the ribs. He needs to prove to
himself that he can woo a recruit’s mother as well as any coach in NCAA
football can, and that he can make a last-minute pitch as enterprising as Bobby Bowden’s
was when he walked into Lorenzo Booker’s Port Hueneme home and gave his
mother a big hug.
Rick Neuheisel has made explicit promises to
recruits—and an implicit promise to this season’s recruiting class—that he
would stay at Washington during their four years. Last season, for example,
he promised Nathan Rhodes’ grandparents he would stay at Washington for, at
the very least, Nathan’s matriculation.
Neuheisel, an offensive-minded coach, is on the verge of
making his version of the West Coast Offense shine, so forget the
He has a mostly veteran team returning, along with a most capable
quarterback, Cody Pickett. Next season will be a down year for the Pac-10,
and Washington has a relatively easy Pac-10 schedule; Arizona State is off
the schedule and WSU, USC and Oregon are at home.
recruiting coordinator Chuck Heater braved the cold, Tule fog in the San
Joaquin valley—where the most peripatetic of recruiters won't venture (so
good for him)—to pull in an underrated running back, Louis Rankin, and an
outstanding cornerback, C.J. Wallace. Rankin has speed and power, and Wallace
will demonstrate that he has the running instincts of a Lorenzo Booker if he
should be tried at running back. Incoming wide receiver Craig Chambers, like
Reggie Williams, was a man among boys as a high-school phenomenon.
Last but not least, with WSU grayshirt Carl Bonnell in hand—the marquis player of
the Dawgs' recruiting class—Neuheisel could have a faster, stronger-armed version of
Marques Tuiasosopo to bail him out of a bad season. If the WCO doesn't shine
this next season, then he'll bring back the option in 2004. Why take a pass
on all that fun?
Anyway, he's smarter than all the local reporters in the
Seattle media combined, and that includes Art Thiel, so, with
some schadenfreude in mind, why not
stick around and torment them some more.